Content originally published by the Golden Transcript on February 23rd, 2016.
There are a lot of pluses to hiring a mature worker — they’re responsible, loyal and trainable.
“They bring a lot to the table,” said Bert Hendricks, regional veteran’s employment representative for Colorado. “I think employers recognize that, also.”
Hiring companies do place value on experience, rather than age, he added.
Hundreds of people attended a Baby Boomer Career Fair on Feb. 19 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Partnering with U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter for the event was the American Job Center and Adams County Workforce.
Rodolfo Escobedo, 60, of Thornton is a CAD designer in the structural field. He was waiting in line to see which jobs were available at Lockheed Martin.
“It’s very good that it is recognized that people in this age group have a voice,” Escobedo said. “It’s good that not only the house representative recognizes that we’re here, but also the companies.”
It is important that baby boomers have good opportunities for employment, Perlmutter said. And “clearly, there was a need for this,” he added. “It’s very well attended.”
The career fair was the second put on by Perlmutter. The first was September, but it was a panel discussion for finding employment opportunities. This time, attendees got to meet face to face with hiring companies.
“It’s better to talk one-on-one with a person when thinking about a job,” said Suzanne Isbrecht, representing Reserve Casino Hotel in Central City. “You don’t really get a good feel for the position until you talk to somebody.”
Twenty-four businesses or organizations were present, plus people were offered help with resume building and interviewing strategies.
The fair is good for attendees because it lets job seekers see which companies are hiring, said Rebecca Leonard, 66, who traveled from the west side of Denver to attend.
“The fair provides options and opportunities,” added Andrea VanDeloop, 59, of Lakewood, “and the freedom to pick and choose which one is the best fit.”
VanDeloop has her own business as a massage therapist, and wants to be able to continue seeing her clients, she said, so she is searching for something that offers a part-time, flexible schedule.
Visiting Angels in Wheat Ridge is hiring caregivers. “We’re looking for diamonds in the rough,” said owner Greg Elliott. The business prefers people with experience in the field, but also hires people “as much for heart as for skills.” And Elliott has been “very pleased” with the people interested in the positions available, he said, and added some of them will be proceeding on to the next steps of the hiring process.
Mark Parker, the general manager for Fox Rent A Car at Denver International Airport, agreed. The attendees bring with them a wide range of experience, including customer service skills, which is what the company is looking for, Parker said.
“We’re always looking for new talent,” he said. “We don’t want to leave any stone unturned.”
It’s “really awesome” that the fair was offered specifically for baby boomers, said Kim Hightower, 51, of Arvada.
“We all know that we’re all of the right age and the companies want to talk to us,” she said. “We all have skills. But in Denver today, it’s about who you know. This gives us the opportunity to skip the who-you-know and go directly to the first impression.”